Chicago’s Bullpen vs. St. Louis’ Bench
If there was a real glaring question mark ahead of 2016 for Chicago, it had to be the back end of their bullpen.
A season ago, the Cubs converted just 48 of 67 save opportunities. Their bullpen ERA, according to FanGraphs, was 3.38 in 2015. Both of those numbers were still in the top half of baseball, but were far from dominant.
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The Cub’s eighth and ninth inning guys, Strop and Hector Rondon have been good thus far, allowing just a single run combined in eight innings. Rondon has converted a pair of save opportunities.
The Cubs bullpen has been good over the small sample size that has been the 2016 season.
On the other side, the St. Louis bench has done historic things through two weeks of baseball action.
For starters, the Cardinals got three pinch-hit home runs (Hazelbaker, Diaz, Garcia) for the first time in the history of Major League baseball back on April 8th against Atlanta.
Starting with that Friday evening, Cardinal pinch-hitters have combined to go 8-15 with six home runs and 9 RBI since.
We might just be in for some late-innings fireworks, a la Pedro Strop/Jhonny Peralta 2015.
There Should be plenty of late-innings drama, nonetheless.
Next: Who's taking early season momentum?